Home>Articles>Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1949: Mandated Bereavement Leave

Assemblyman Evan Low (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1949: Mandated Bereavement Leave

It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a bereavement leave request

By Chris Micheli, September 30, 2022 6:49 am

On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1949, by Assembly Evan Low (D-San Jose). AB 1949 amends Government Code Sections 12945.21 and 19859.3, and adds Government Code Section 12945.7, relating to bereavement leave.

AB 1949 requires private employers with five or more employees and public sector employers to provide employees with at least 30 days of service up to five unpaid days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.

Existing California law, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which is a part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period for family care and medical leave, as specified.

AB 1949 makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member, as defined. The bill would require that leave be completed within 3 months of the date of death. The bill would require that leave be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer. Under the bill, in the absence of an existing policy, the bereavement leave may be unpaid. However, the bill would authorize an employee to use certain other leave balances otherwise available to the employee, including accrued and available paid sick leave.

In addition, AB 1949 requires, if an existing leave policy provides for less than 5 days of bereavement leave, a total of at least 5 days of bereavement leave for the employee, as prescribed. The bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to engage in specified acts of discrimination, interference, or retaliation relating to an individual’s exercise of rights under the bill. The bill would require the employer to maintain employee confidentiality relating to bereavement leave, as specified. The bill would not apply to an employee who is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that provides for prescribed bereavement leave and other specified working conditions.

Existing state law also grants specified permanent employees of the state up to 3 days of bereavement leave, with up to 2 additional days of bereavement leave upon request if the death is out of state. Existing law specifies that these 2 additional days are to be without pay or are to be charged against existing sick leave credits. AB 1949 recasts those provisions to specify that the first 3 days of bereavement leave are to be paid leave, and to remove the condition that the death be out of state for the additional 2 days.

Section 1 of the bill adds Government Code Section 12945.7 to first define the following terms: “employee” (employed at least 30 days); “employer” (public or private who employs five or more persons); and, “family member” (spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, domestic partner, or parent-in-law).

Second, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by any employee to take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.

Third, specific provisions of the leave include the following:

  • The days of bereavement leave do not have to be taken consecutively.
  • The bereavement leave must be completed within three months of the date of death of the family member.
  • The bereavement leave must be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer.

Fourth, if there is no existing policy, then the bereavement leave may be unpaid, except that an employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee. There are specific rules for existing leave policies that offer fewer than five days of pair or unpaid bereavement leave.

Fifth, if requested by the employer, the employee within 30 days must provide documentation of the death of the family member. The term “documentation” is defined.

Sixth, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to hire, or to discharge, demote, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against, an individual because of either of the following:

An individual’s exercise of the right to bereavement leave.

An individual’s giving information or testimony as to their own bereavement leave, or another person’s bereavement leave, in an inquiry or proceeding related to rights guaranteed.

.

Seventh, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right to bereavement leave.

Eighth, the employers is required to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting leave, as well as maintain the confidentiality of any documentation provided to the employer.

Ninth, this section does not apply to an employee who is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if specified conditions are met.

Section 2 of the bill amends Government Code Section 12945.21(a) and (b)(2) and (c)(1) and (2) and (f) to make technical changes to add these provisions to the small employer mediation pilot program.

Section 3 of the bill amends Government Code Section 19859.3 to clarify that bereavement leave cannot exceed three days with pay.

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6 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1949: Mandated Bereavement Leave

  1. So it’s now unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a bereavement leave request after Democrat Gov. Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1949 that was authored by Democrat Assemblyman Evan Low? What is the backgound of Assemblyman Evan Low? He earned an associate’s degree from De Anza College, a community college in Cupertino, California, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from San Jose State University. After graduating from college, he began his career as a Democrat bureaucrat. In 2004, Evan Low unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the City Council, but he ran again in 2006 and won in his second attempt. Evan Low’s Democrat colleagues on the City Council selected him to become Campbell mayor in 2009 becoming the youngest openly gay, Asian American Mayor in the nation. In 2013, his colleagues on the Campbell City Council selected him to serve as Mayor for a second time and his term on the council expired in 2014. In 2014, Evan Low won the California’s 28th State Assembly district election and Democrat Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins appointed him as Assistant Majority Whip. Evan Low has never run a business. He’s an entrenched Democrat bureaucrat who has lived off of California’s taxpayers?

    1. Thank you for posting these VERY informative “backstories”, Mario – please keep ’em coming!!!

      AND – related to the story – is this more important as the Democrats’ “Death shots” continue to take their toll and the “died unexpectedly” narrative becomes sadly more a part of everyone’s life, as the clot-shots continue to do their insidious work???
      The Democrats are TRULY the “Death Party”…

  2. Can this state actually begin to work on what matters the most right now and the fact that the cost of living continues to increase in all areas but yet the only wages that have gone up would be minimum wage employees (which by the way were made for kids going to school or at least it was back in my day it was). If they continue doing this, all min wage jobs will reach the wages of say someone who’s been at the same company for 30+yrs how does any of this make sense? Or say u work for a union and wages are the same for Californians verses someone living in Kentucky. It should be based on where one lives & that states cost factor. How can anyone expect others who have made the same wages forever & only get a raise of .35 cents be able to continue living without now being forced to work overtime or getting a 2nd job to keep up? So the middle class has now become the lower class. They now don’t have time to spend with their family due to having to be a slave to work. Kids become unwatched & unguided or you have to move in with family if ur that lucky to have that option just to cut and share costs. What happened to values and the importance of having quality family time that most have now been robbed of just to pay your bills and mortgage & now having to use credit cards just to buy groceries & watch their once great credit now start to decline due to not being able to pay them off each month. Something has to give because all this is doing is making our children not want to become adults due to the stress they see their parents under. Suicide rates continue to elevate along with crime and the homeless.. kids that come from divorces or single parents or those of a different ethnicity and or gender related issue are getting free rides into university’s because they are chosen first due to the university’s required admissions when it shouldn’t be based on any of that & should be based on the persons academic profile and dedication to wanting a better education. while the rest who’s parents have both worked trying to just put food on the table and shelter are expected to get ridiculous loans out just so their kid can go to those same universities. if we don’t stand together what kind of future will our kids and their kids even have ? We all need to take a stand and stop all work and do nothing until the government is forced to pay us a decent wage or lower the cost of things so we can breath again. Covid proved that’s possible (another joke) and this so called relief payments of a measly 300$ $800 or whatever depending on how many kids you have is another joke as if that amount can even justify all we have paid and continue having to pay making what we have made for years. I bet if one person that sits in office had to live like a normal working person making what we make things would have changed years ago but instead they continue wasting taxpayers dollars on irrelevant bs or how they continue giving handouts to people who choose not to work because those people work the system and have no problem lying because nobody has the time to investigate and are just paying these people to not do anything with free housing and or food stamps free cell phones I mean seriously I’m done here

    1. If minimum wage jobs were “meant for kids going to school,” then whose operating such businesses while these, said “kids” are at school throughout the day? Additionally, while kids who are in school normally adhere to “bed time” on “school nights” which commonly range between 8Pm – 10pm, under normal circumstances, in a civilized, family household…

      Moreover, most jobs require or consist of management positions, which employees are required have a high school diploma, and / or experience in management, which school kids obviously do not have. Plus, if we look at jobs like, say fast food… A school aged kid that is under the legal age of adulthood, like 18 years old, would not be legally allowed to work in the kitchen, if it consists of cutting tools, knives or food processing equipment, hot grills, frying vats, or charbroiling mechanical equipment, due to employee safety policy’s.

      So, by using your logic, your saying that these minimum wage paying businesses, would only be able to operate between the hours of 3pm and 8Pm Monday through Thursday and Friday can offer an extra couple hours because there’s no school the following day, and on Saturdays it would allow the hours of operation between 6am and 11pm due curfew for minors, and Sunday would be 6am – 8Pm on your average week?

      Additionally, there are numerous jobs in many industrial, manufacturing, warehouse and even shipping jobs throughout California, that start at minimum wage… Are you saying that these jobs are all ran by school aged kids too?

      If we look at the average working family, in California, what we have is many family’s struggling to make ends meet. If minimum wage was not mandated by the state, and we went according to the the federal minimum wage requirement of what, $7.25 an hour? That’s purely unrealistic, on so many levels. The states that remain at that level have higher poverty rates and have a higher rate “per capita” in Government aid, food stamps, child hunger, crime, like robberies, drug addiction, etc.

      Many people in these lower wage states assume going to college will be there best hope for a greater future, but guess what?? They end up with a huge debt, in a college loan, that weighs them down, going forward. If they remain in their home state of low wages, that doesn’t help much either. Because not only do lower wage paying jobs start at a minimum pay scale, at 7.25 to around 8 or 9 dollars an hour, if they’re lucky… But so do the rest of the jobs in that state. So minimum wage mandates, not only raise the lower paying “minimum wage” jobs; it also raises the pay on the rest of the working people in that state. Because of course they’re not going to keep everyone at the lowest pay rate, in other industries or positions.

      If we look at jobs that pay their employees above the average rate, they have lower transition rates, happier workers, and a more successful operating business. Because your not constantly training new workers, and your business isn’t in a constant limbo, between experienced workers and inexperienced workers. When you have motivated working individuals on board, everyone wins. Less mistakes, less stress, better outcome, overall success. You have less people calling off, which many employers deal with on a regular basis. You get better results overall.

      Now, looking at the new bill on time off, amid a death in the family. There are many employers who will not allow their workers time off. This effects many low wage earners. This type of business practice is unjust and dehumanizing. Many people have had to choose to attend their Dads, or sisters funeral, or travel outside their state in order to be there, or be at work, because their boss doesn’t care about your personal issues, and if you miss for a few days, don’t bother coming back! This is a common thing in the “real world” and if your bills are barely getting paid, you can’t afford to lose your job entirely. Job searching is probably the least favorable thing to do in adulthood; one thing worse than going to work, is looking for work!

      To mandate such practices for the working class, is very much so, appreciated. I may not be in the private sector anymore, because I work for the state, and I have plenty of “leave”!hours, for time off. But, in the past I did work in the private sector and it certainly sucks, when an employer doesn’t care about their employees. It’s awful. Nobody cares about you, or your dying mother. Nobody cares if your sitter flaked and you have nobody to watch your kid, or if your kids sick and your stuck at home caring for your child because day care will not allow your kid to be there when they’re sneezing and coughing. It’s even worse when you can’t afford to pay for child care because it’s so expensive in the first place. California has aimed to help release much of the burden for working families, so they can get passed the hurdles that otherwise keep them from being successful, or no longer dependent on others, or the welfare system. Everybody wins, when you offer a little bit of help to basic essentials. It’s not rocket science. In order to establish economic growth and / or stability it takes a whole of the people to be lifted out of poverty; in order to do that, it takes a whole of Government, of the people to do it’s part. More people succeed in life, when opportunities are easily accessible. When road blocks aren’t obstructing their journey. When the weight is lifted from their shoulders, people can reach their highest potential and succeed.

      A Government body, that’s formed of the people, and operated by the people, is supposed to work for the people. The Framers believed that the best form of government is one in which elected leaders represent the interests of the people. The Framers wanted the will of the people to be reflected in the daily decisions of government

      We currently have a Governor who have done a lot sense taking office, that has changed many lives, in many ways, which is hardly the case in many other states. I’m not big on politics, or a big supporter of any one particular party or politicians. I just call
      It for what it is, or as I see it to be, self evident.

      If we pass judgment, based on the color of a book, or the title of a movie, or the name of dessert, without actually experiencing it entirely, or at all. The true understanding of its contents, remains null and void; therefore, lacks valid reasoning, and provides no true source for facts. Opinion by proxy may be pre-determined, or biased, which can result to unintentional ignorance, due to conditional, pre-disposed circumstances.

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